STATE v. ROBERT G. DENYA, SC 18182
Judicial District of Hartford
Criminal; Whether Trial Court Abused its Discretion in Modifying Terms of Defendant's Probation Regarding Electronic Monitoring. In 1998, the defendant was convicted of risk of injury to a child and fourth degree sexual assault and given a sentence that included ten years of probation with special conditions. In October, 2004, the trial court found the defendant in violation of a term of his probation that prohibited him from having contact with children younger than age sixteen. As a result, the court reinstated the defendant's original term of incarceration and increased the term of his probation to thirty-five years. As a condition of probation, the court ordered the defendant to submit to "electronic digital global positioning or whatever other service probation deems appropriate." Upon subsequently learning that the office of adult probation (office) had stopped electronically monitoring the defendant, the state moved to modify the defendant's probation so that electronic monitoring would be reinstated. In March, 2006, the court issued a decision rectifying the 2004 order. It explained that it had intended that the defendant be continuously monitored during the duration of his probation and that the office have discretion to accommodate any technical developments occurring over the thirty-five year term of probation that would achieve at least the same level of monitoring as that provided by current global positioning system technology. The defendant appealed, claiming that the trial court improperly modified the conditions of his probation in the absence of any showing of good cause, as required by General Statutes § 53a-30. The state argued that the trial court did not have to make a good cause finding because it merely clarified the conditions of probation that had existed since 2004. The Appellate Court (107 Conn. App. 800) agreed with the defendant and ruled that the 2006 order did not merely provide meaning to an ambiguous provision of the 2004 order but, rather, imposed an additional burden on the defendant by ordering him to submit to continuous electronic monitoring for the duration of his probation rather than to electronic monitoring at the discretion of the office. The court concluded that the trial court abused its discretion by modifying the terms of the defendant's probation in the absence of any showing of good cause. It noted that the state did not present evidence that the defendant engaged in any wrongdoing since the 2004 proceedings and that the trial court did not find that the circumstances concerning the defendant had changed so that its prior order of probation was no longer serving its intended purposes. The state challenges the Appellate Court's decision in this appeal.